In pursuance of these sentiments, several projects were examined, and several resolutions were taken by the council. And, in all these deliberations, it was from the first determined, that George Anson, Esq. then captain of the Centurion, should be employed as commander-in-chief of an expedition of this kind: and, he at that time being absent on a cruize, a vessel was dispatched to his station so early as the beginning of September, to order him to return with his ship to Portsmouth. And soon after he came there, that is, on the 10th November following, he received a letter from Sir Charles Wager, directing him to repair to London, and to attend the board of Admiralty; where, when he arrived, he was informed by Sir Charles, that two squadrons would be immediately fitted out for two secret expeditions, which, however, would have some connection with each other; and that he, Mr Anson, was intended to command one of them; and that Mr Cornwall, who hath since lost his life gloriously in defence of his country’s honour, was to command the other; that the squadron under Mr Anson was to take on board three independent companies of an hundred men each, and Bland’s regiment of foot; that Colonel Bland was likewise to embark with his regiment, and to command the land-forces; and that, as soon as this squadron could be fitted for sea, they were to sail, with express orders to touch at no place till they came to Java-Head in the East-Indies; that they were there only to stop to take in water, and thence to proceed directly to the city of Manilla in Luconia, one of the Philippine islands; that the other squadron, of equal force with this commanded by Mr Anson, was intended to pass round Cape Horn into the South Seas, to range along that coast; and, after cruizing upon the enemy in those parts, and attempting their settlements, this squadron, in its return, was to rendezvous at Manilla, there to join the squadron under Mr Anson, where they were to refresh their men, and to refit their ships, and perhaps receive orders for other considerable enterprizes.
This scheme was doubtless extremely well projected, and could not but have greatly advanced the public service, and the reputation and fortune of those concerned in its execution; for, had Mr Anson proceeded to Manilla at the time and in the manner proposed by Sir Charles Wager, he would in all probability have arrived there before they had received any advice of the war between us and Spain, and consequently before they had been in the least prepared for the reception of an enemy, or had any apprehensions of their danger. The city of Manilla might well be supposed to have been at that time in the same defenceless condition with all the other Spanish settlements, just at the breaking out of the war; that is, their fortifications neglected, and in many places decayed; their cannon dismounted, or rendered useless by the mouldering of their carriages; their magazines both of military stores and provisions,